10 May 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Meanies

Today the Broke and Bookish have given us this topic for Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (Actual or Perceived) Literary Jerks.  Since I missed Mean Girls a couple of weeks back, I might have some of them tucked in here as well.


10: Mrs. Havisham in Great Expectations: What a witch.  Her bitterness is at least partially responsible for keeping Pip and Estella apart (although Pip is kind of an indecisive jerk too).  This is the literary couple I most want to make it, despite it being totally irrational to root for a literary couple.
South Park Havisham

9. Glen Waddell in  Bastard Out of Carolina; I've seen some lists with Humbert Humbert on them, which I totally agree with; he's a creep.  However, he looks like a cocker spaniel in comparison to this repulsive child molester.

8. Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid's Tale: I assign this book to my students and sometimes they pick up on the fact that the Aunts are really some of the worst of all evils in this book.  The Commander is bad, but we start to learn that he is also affected by the regime and its all-encompassing power.  Aunt Lydia, though?  No redeeming qualities.

7. McTeague inMcteague : a Story of San Francisco:  Along with his wife Trina, it is really greed that does McTeague in.  Plus he has a caveman face and can be really horribly abusive.

6. Patrick Bateman in American PsychoBateman is the shallowest serial killer in all of literature.  He is truly loathsome and, on top of that, really boring.  Who wants to hear about your facial cleansing products? Give it a rest.

Art by Jaxene


5. Rochester in Jane Eyre:  He's creepy and he keeps his wife in the attic.  And this is the love interest?  I know some people aren't going to like this, but I think Jane is better than that.

4. Manley Pointer in "Good Country People"  Underneath the veneer of an innocent Bible salesman, lies... well, I don't want to ruin the story for you if you haven't read it, since it is one of the greatest ever.  What I will tell you is that Manley, besides having a super phallic name (good one Flannery), is definitely a dick.

3. Jason Compton in Sound and the Fury: I don't like Jason.  He thinks he can tell everyone what to do, and he has the clearest narrative in the story only because Faulkner is portraying him as the white, male, top of the power structure in the South.  And that's not a good thing.

2. Big Brother in 1984: I know, Big Brother isn't a real person, but I think all-seeing, all-knowing, paranoia-inducing even though probably non-existing panopticons are big jerks.
Movie Prop

1. Chillingsworth in The Scarlet Letter: It has been a few lists since I've included my darling Hawthorne.  Chillingsworth ruins Hester's life by lying and he looks really creepy and his name is Chillingsworth.  Hawthorne is always telling us something with those names...

It was a lot easier to come up with these jerks than I thought it would be.  I guess every good story needs an antagonist.

23 comments:

  1. Big Brother is a novel choice. Very clever. Nice list.

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  2. I haven't read many of these books, I'll have to look into them. But I agree with you on The Scarlet Letter! Such a jerk!

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  3. I've seen Rochester on a couple lists. I understand what everyone is saying, but I'm still on the fence.

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  4. You are definitely right about the Aunts in The Handmaid's Tale, when I read that book I kept trying to think what I'd do. I always thought the hardest part to deal with would be the fact that only America has changed (so technically as an Australian I'd be immune)and the rest of the world is continuing on as normal, there is no apocalypse that necessitated a change. I've gotten a little off topic here, but this book really gets to me (in a good way!)

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  5. LOVE your inclusion of O'Connor - "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" and "Everything That Rises Must Converge" are two of my favorite short stories, and I'm glad that this list led you to remind me to revisit "Good Country People".

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  6. interesting list. I agree with Rochester, I was never a big fan of his.

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  7. Great list! I didn't understand a whole lot while reading The Sound and the Fury, but I did pick up that Jason was a pretty big jerk. ALso, nice call on Big Brother.

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  8. Jason Compton is a great choice! I didn't really like any of the characters in The Sound in the Fury (that I can remember - it's been a few years). But he was definitely how I would define as a jerk.

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  9. Ugh - Chillingsworth! I loathed that man.

    Reading Lark's Top 10

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  10. I can't believe I didn't even think of the aunts in The Handmaid's Tale! What a great choice!

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  11. lol i thought of Rochester too.. the locking in the attic thing is just wrong. Great list!

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  12. Bateman and Rochester - totally agree with you there!! I really don't understand how people like Rochester! Big Brother was an awesome choice - there can't be a bigger jerk!!
    Great list :)

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  13. I agree with Chillingsworth, but I loathed Dimmesdale as well. They were both such awful people.

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  14. Great to see that you include Aunt Lydia!!

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  15. I put Rochester on my list too, for much the same reasons as you have. I'd definitely put Big Brother on a list of faceless evil bastards. As for the rest, I haven't read the books, but I am sure they are good choices.

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  16. Oh, Big Brother! What a creative choice. I don't think I would have ever thought of that one. Great list!

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  17. I HATE Aunt Lydia! Perfect choice for this list. As for Rochester, it is sad but true. He is a jerk. Even Jane thought so in the beginning. I suppose he is one of those jerks who grows on you, but that still doesn't take away the fact that he is a jerk.

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  18. I'm fully with you on Rochester. He was always a jerk to Jane and certainly not all that nice to Bertha.

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  19. Great choices and great books!

    (And the South Park Miss Havisham totally cracked me up!)

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  20. MANLY POINTER!!!! How could I have forgotten him? He is such an arse!

    I so agree with your list--excellent choices.

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  21. I forgot all about Chillingsworth, you're right, he is a huge jerk.

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  22. Wow, Big Brother! I didn't even think of that one.

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  23. Wow, Big Brother! I didn't even think of that one.

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